Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
No relief from targeting suspension for Catalon
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said the first-half targeting suspension for safety Jalen Catalon will not be overturned for the Razorbacks' scheduled game at Missouri on Saturday.
Catalon was ejected during the fourth quarter of the Razorbacks' game against LSU for a targeting penalty that drew criticism from Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek, who wrote on Twitter of the ejection, "My student-athletes deserve better."
Yurachek said after the game he would lobby to have Catalon's suspension overturned.
"You can't review those," Pittman said. "Once it goes under review, if you have the appropriate amount of tape for their viewing, then whatever their call is, it stands and you can't petition that. You just live with it is what we were told. So he'll be out for the first half of the Missouri game.
"Video review should be able to get those calls correct, and so that was the feeling of video review, that they had ample time to make the correct call on the field."
Catalon appeared to make shoulder-to-shoulder contact with LSU receiver Kayshon Boutte as Boutte was making a catch on the Tigers' go-ahead drive. The NCAA rulebook defines targeting as forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless player.
Pittman said he spoke with Catalon in the locker room following the Razorbacks' 27-24 loss to LSU and again Saturday night.
"I think in his mind he did 100% everything correct on the play," Pittman said. "That's got to be hard when you're trying to do the right thing and you're ejected out of the game, especially in that critical time, and you miss the first half of another game. It's got be very difficult on him. We want him to know we support him in every possible way we can."
Catalon has been ejected for targeting twice this season. He was also ejected at Texas A&M, but because that ejection was during the first half it did not carry over to the following week's game.
Pittman said freshman Myles Slusher and junior Myles Mason are likely to get more playing time in the absence of Catalon, an All-SEC candidate who has 86 tackles and three interceptions this season.
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